Yobe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, has warned against the illegal price regulation by some traders in the state.
The governor said in a statement by his director, Press Affairs, Mallam Abdullahi Bego, that his attention had been drawn to the activities of some individuals within the Damaturu Traders Community that engaged in illegal trade practices in the market in order “to stifle free flow of business, stymie competition and unfairly influence pricing to their selfish advantage.
“Some of these activities include trying to stop anyone outside Damaturu or outside the state from bringing in wares to sell in the State capital, forcing traders to wait in regulated queues before they could offload and sell their wares in order to jack up prices unreasonably and suffocating the market by forcing traders to not sell certain products at certain times.
“One example of how pernicious this has become, according to reports reaching the government, was when a certain trader from Taraba State with a lorry-load of yam tubers on his way to Maiduguri had a flat tyre in Damaturu and therefore decided to start selling him yams there before he could fix his lorry. He was reportedly forced to stop selling the yams by those elements in the traders’ association who threatened him on the illegal excuse that there are already yams in the market and so he would not be allowed to ‘interfere’ with the regimes of availability and pricing that they had set up.
“The net effects of these practices are that small and medium businesses in the state capital are stopped from growing and free competition is sacrificed at the altar of interests that are demonstrably selfish and against the law.”
The governor promised that his government would work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that any trader found engaged in these practices was arrested and prosecuted.
He also said the government would also work with the State House of Assembly to solidify this effort with a law to make the practices punishable offence.